I am currently in the midst of preparing a paper for a conference that the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC) is holding in Manchester in September called ‘Objects – What matters? Technology, value and social change’.
A number of colleagues and I have been accepted to present a panel presentation on “Telling Objects: Lindow Man at the Manchester Museum”. Bryan Sitch, Head of Human Cultures, will be discussing our recent Lindow Man: A Bog Body Mystery exhibition in reference to postmodernism, while Pete Brown, our Head of Learning and Interpretation, will be exploring how the display provoked a debate among staff and public alike.
However, Neil and I will be representing The Learning Team during the presentation – looking at how the programming of events across Primary, Secondary and Post-16 learning allowed pupils to engage with the collection, gain knowledge about Lindow Man and even form an understanding of what constitutes a’ museum’.
Unfortunately, Neil got so excited about this opportunity for us to advocate our learning programmes he did not realise that the CRESC conference clashed with his own wedding (!) so Helena has kindly agreed to step in and talk about the `Museum of Me’ project on his behalf.
As for me – I’ll be inciting awe and wonder by showing how the two Lindow Man inspired programmes in the Secondary offer achieved their aims and allowed students to practically apply their skills and knowledge whilst having lots of fun! I think some of their own comments demonstrate this more than anything:
*The support and the teaching was just brilliant. I hope to come again
*By the end it was fun and quite hard but it gave us more historical knowledge
*At the beginning I had a basic understanding and at the end I had an in-depth understanding
*By the end I felt really good, I had never heard of Lindow Man and I felt I left with loads of knowledge
*By the end I was very happy and my head is filled with facts. I hope I remember them as I may need them again. I was surprised that I actually enjoyed myself!
The teachers were just as enthusiastic and complimentary in their feedback also:
*It brought the bog body debate alive and developed communication
*I was amazed to see such an organised session with obviously lots of thought put into it. No half measures at all! It was excellent – seamless, inspiring – spot on!
*I was amazed to see the resources and artefacts that the museum has and surprised that a session on a hot Friday afternoon was so successful
*Lots of information which was pitched at a simple level so the students understood. The pace of activities was well managed and there were lots of practical activities to be involved with.
*At the beginning it seemed perhaps a little above the pupils level but in fact the students grasped it well and enjoyed it
Preparing the presentation has reminded me just how overwhelmingly successful the programming for Lindow Man was, and how much we can achieve when we collaborate with colleagues and teachers well. The fact that over 1200 students participated in the Secondary and Post-16 programming for Lindow Man workshops I think demonstrates that it was a popular and worthwhile not only for students and teachers but also for us at the museum.
While Lindow Man himself has left us, I hope that the learning legacy his influence left behind can continue and that the inspiration and innovation that was so evident as a result of these programmes will find its way into everything we do in the future.